The Clearances Again

Resistance is growing in Scotland’s island and coastal communities to the Scottish Government’s proposals to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas.

a set of creels on the shoreline
Image credit Bell

Fishers who work these areas in Scotland’s waters are concerned that no notice is being paid to the sustainable practices they themselves do. No one knows these waters better than those who fish them.

The Highly Protected Marine Areas could very well spell the end of a traditional way of life and with it the culture of the communities it supports.

Successful folk band Skippinish have released a protest song to raise awareness to Scots and those around the world about what is happening to islands and coastal communities in Scotland.

Available to download…

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The Clearances Again  - Angus MacPhail

Farewell to the cliffs of Mingulay 
And the shores of the Sandray Sound
And the glow of a boat well laden
Steaming north when you’re homeward bound.

Donald Francis MacNeil is my name,
I’m a fisherman through to the bone.
I have lived by the creel and the wave
To provide for a family and home.
Generations before me have followed
The toil and the call of the seas
But the soul will be torn from our future
And the heart from the Hebrides.

I have hauled through the stacks and the arches 
And learned from the old in my youth.
Ten thousand seabirds my chorus
The sea is my way and my truth.
At one with the ocean, with nature,
The world above and below, 
The harvest of harmony’s circle
But my life and my living must go
For the fashions of urban ideals
Where passions of ignorance play
To the lies of political deals - 
No care for the lives in their way.

My people, my language, my Island
And the rights that our forefathers won
To remain on the soil of our homeland
By the sweep of a pen will be gone - 
A wrecking ball through our existence; 
Tradition and culture condemned
At the hands of the arrogant stranger - 
The Clearances over again.

But we’ll join with the kin of our coastline
From Ness to the Holy Isle.
Faceless grey suits from the cities,
They will not play games with our lives.
My song marks a fight for survival
A Mayday call we cry.
We will stand for the rights of our children. 
We will not let our islands die.

The Scottish Government’s Consultation closes on 18th of April 2023.

a board which says Gone Fishing on a Scottish Saltire but with the fishing crossed out

Fiona Grahame

4 replies »

  1. What outrages me is the arrogance of those forcing through this proposal in the light of their wanton ignorance about the actual sustainability of marine life in areas worked by local fishermen who have immense knowledge of the areas of sea they work in and already do so sustainably. There is even proof of healthy, growing populations from studies carried out on the crab population around Orkney, but all this will be ignored as ‘not valid’ by those in the city.

    They don’t even care if fragile island populations are tipped into unsustainability when a few fishermen have their livelihoods torn from them and their generations old knowledge of the sea around their island is lost forever. Indeed, depopulating the isles would remove the need for those pesky expensive ferries we islanders keep talking about – apart of course from a few tourist ferries each summer so the city folk can frolic in their bucolic ‘rewilded’ islands and count their profits from whatever nonsensical greenwashing scheme they’ve developed to fill their pockets and allow them to carry on their destructive city based lives as usual.

  2. Again the “Scottish Government “ ignores anywhere but Edinburgh and the central belt. They have no knowledge of anywhere else nor do they care

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